Chickenpox vaccine
(Photo: iStock).

Superdrug yesterday launched a nurse-led Covid-19 phlebotomy antibody testing service even as the General Pharmaceutical Council today told pharmacists that it was not appropriate for these tests to be sold in community pharmacies or recommended by pharmacy professionals.

However, Superdrugs’ Covid-19 antibody testing service uses patient’s venous blood sample drawn by their nurses.

The antibody test is available for anyone over 18 at 30 Superdrug health clinics with a further 12 clinics due to open in the coming weeks, the company said in a statement on Monday (July 20).

All of its clinics are registered with the Care Quality Commission, according to the pharmacy multiple and all aspects of the testing service are in line with current government guidelines and the test is run by a UKAS-accredited laboratory.

Michael Henry, Superdrug’s Healthcare Director said: “Our nurses have the professional expertise to draw a venous blood sample which is the only type of blood sample used for Covid-19 antibody testing currently in line with government guidelines.

“We have 30 clinics currently open and should demand for this service exceed the current capacity in these clinics then we will seek to make more appointments available”

While the antibody testing option of being able to draw patient’s blood via a finger prick test is still under review, people still want easy access to a service where they can find out if they have already been infected with Covid-19.

Receiving a positive antibody test result does not however confer immunity, and it’s important that people understand that it does not mean they can be any more relaxed with the required hygiene and social distancing measures as set out by the government.

Superdrug Health Ambassador Dr Zoe Williams  said: “Superdrug are offering a clinician-led Covid-19 antibody testing service on the high street. This provides people with a choice, outside of the NHS, to find out if they have mounted an immune response to coronavirus. There is no strong evidence yet to assure those who have a positive antibody test are immune.

“Having antibodies does not mean that social distancing rules apply any differently to you, and it certainly doesn’t guarantee that you can’t transmit the virus to others. Despite this many people ‘just want to know’ and are willing to pay to find out and Superdrug has now provided this option.”

The newly started Covid-19 antibody blood test is a blood test that looks for antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

It detects the IgG antibody, which is the protein that develops after infection. If positive, it means that the person tested had the virus at some point and the body produced an immune response.

If you want to share your stories and/or experiences with us, please send an email to [email protected]